Vice-President Pence’s party motorcaded out of Snowmass Village and through Glenwood Springs back to the Eagle County Airport New Year’s morning, a few hours ahead of schedule. No one was happier to see the 2nd in command go than Pam & Bruce Wood of Above It All Balloons. They tell the Aspen Times and the Post-Independent they lost more than $10,000 in business in the 6 days the Pences were staying at an Owl Creek Road home, due to federal flight restrictions in the airspace over the town. All flights of any kind of aircraft were prohibited from any area within 3 kilometers of the house where they were staying, and Above It All’s usual launching spot from the parking lots of the Snowmass Village Recreation Center are within that distance. The Woods say they had to cancel flights many guests had made reservations for months ago, when they made holiday travel plans. Not only did the company lose out on those potential rides, but its employees missed getting potentially hefty holiday tips. No one knew the Pence party was coming, much in advance of their arrival on the 26th… an FAA “notice to airmen” was only put out on Christmas Eve. The company tells the papers Christmas to the New Year is normally its busiest week of the year.
Also, most people didn’t know the winningest women’s World Cup skier ever was spending some of her holiday ntsdown time in the Roaring Fork Valley. The Times reports Vail resident Lindsey Vonn came over to get some extra training in on the Aspen Valley Ski Club’s Stapleton Center at Aspen Highlands. Vonn tells the paper she hadn’t taken advantage of the facility before, so she was happy to accept an invitation from the club to give it a try. Lindsey has 78 World Cup wins in her career, the latest and only one of this season so far a Super-G in France. Earlier in the season she had a crash in Canada, so the Aspen visit is seen somewhat as a confidence re-builder. Vonn also donated a package of ski time with her to the club’s Ajax Cup fundraising event over the weekend. Her next big events on the Cup tour are in Austria the weekend after this, the 13th & 14th, and the Olympics start at PyongChang South Korea on the 9th of next month.
And the other World Cup superstar from over in Eagle County, Mikaela Shiffrin, is still making it happen. In Norway on Monday, New Year’s Night, the 22-year-old won the parallel slalom, edging Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener for Shiffrin’s 37th career Cup win. Mikaela’s now tied with one of her childhood heroines, Marlies Schild, for 6th in all-time women’s Cup victories, behind Vonn’s 78. This race was her 2nd parallel slalom win and her 7th overall in various disciplines this season. The parallel slaloms are a lot shorter than normal courses, with only about 19 gates, and are called “city” events. The next one’s in Stockholm, Sweden at the end of this month, just a couple weeks before the Olympics. The Cup tour’s busy ‘til then though, with regular slalom in Croatia tomorrow and Thursday.
Some valley locals were chillin’ to start the new year, taking their kayaks and other craft into the Colorado River’s Shoshone rapids. It’s not really an official event, just kind of traditional… dozens of boaters getting out in the whitewater at what many consider an unusual time of year. Some paddlers even drop in for it from out of state. The chilly water temperatures are said to amp up the excitement.
The Aspen Daily News reports a recent bear spray incident is just the latest one in a string of problems a local couple are having with their neighbor, so now they have a restraining order against the 52-year-old man, Courtlandt Kirk. Several weeks ago, Kirk is alleged to have attacked the husband in the couple with bear spray, spraying it all over not only him but their door and throughout their apartment. The pair say they’ve had to move out due to the smell. They told a court that over months, Kirk has gone out of his way to make their lives difficult. He’s expected in court 2 weeks from today to answer misdemeanor charges in that bear spray case.